The conspirators hoped to dispatch Lord Liverpool’s cabinet with one devastating blow at Lord Harrowby’s cabinet dinner at 44 Grosvenor Square. The key figures that so enraged them were:
Lord Liverpool and his government made it clear that he fully supported the action of the magistrates and the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry. Radicals reacted by calling what happened in St. Peter’s Fields, the Peterloo Massacre, therefore highlighting the fact that Liverpool’s government was now willing to use the same tactics against the British people that it had used against Napoleon and the French Army
Robert Stewart, the son the second Marquis of Londonderry, who obtained his seat of County Down, a pocket borough, when his father paid £60,000 to bribe electors at the 1790 election. His involvement in repression in Ireland and the execution of those seeking a United Ireland made him many enemies. As leader of the House of Commons, Castlereagh in November, 1817, introduced the bill for the suspension of Habeas Corpus, imprisonment without trial. The hatred for him is summed up by Shelley’s line in the Masque of Anarchy, ‘I met Murder on the way, he had a mask like Castlereagh.’
Henry Addington, 1st Viscount Sidmouth,
served as Prime Minister from 1801 to 1804 and is best known for the failed Treaty of Amiens in 1802, an unfavourable peace with Napoleonic France. He was forced from office in favour of William Pitt the Younger. Lord Sidmouth was detested for his reactionary crackdown on any form of democratic reform. A devout Anglican, Shelley called out his hypocrisy and compared him to a crocodile. His ten-year spell as Home Secretary from 1812 to 1822 is the longest on record.
John Scott, 1st Earl of Eldon,
was Lord High Chancellor between 1801 and 1827. He was notorious for crying before ordering some poor juvenile thief to hang. Eldon notoriously accused the political London Corresponding Society reformer Thomas Hardy of attempting to establish “representative government, the direct opposite of the government which is established here“
Dudley Ryder, 1st Earl of Harrowby
From 1812 to 1827, he served as Lord President of the Council under Lord Liverpool. He was the host of the fictitious cabinet dinner at his home, 44 Grosvenor Square.
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington,
Needs no introduction as the victor over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. In 1818 Wellington had been appointed Master-General of the Ordnance by Lord Liverpool. This began his climb to power that would make him on of the leading political figures of 19th-century Britain, and twice see him serve as as Prime Minister. He also gave his name as everyone knows to the Wellington boot!
Lord Eldon President of the Board of Control
George Canning served under PM Lord Liverpool as Ambassador to Portugal (1814–1816), President of the Board of Control (1816–1821), and Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons (1822–1827). He served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from April to August 1827 and died in office.